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Forever #AndrewStrong

Kelly Wehman participates in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend to run for her son, Andrew, currently in remission for cancer.

Being a new mom is an experience, and being a mom to a child with special needs is even larger. Yet for Kelly, the highs outweigh the lows every day. One look at Andrew makes all the doctor visits, therapists, paperwork, and research worth it.

A year after Andrew was born, Kelly received the news no mother ever wants to hear, acute myeloblastic leukemia, diagnosed to her 1-year-old son with Down syndrome. “I feel like I failed him as a mother,” she said as she battled the feelings that accompany such big news. Her doubts quickly turned to a proactive plan of, “What’s next?” as they worked with Riley Children’s Hospital to start treatment.

Pregnant and sleeping in the hospital by Andrew’s side for many nights, watching him get poked and put under anesthesia for countless labs, bone marrow tests and spinal taps, Kelly does not wish these moments on any mother. Yet, happier memories of watching Andrew capture the hearts of every nurse and doctor, always the charmer with a smile on his face, and memories of the many nights snuggling him and watching his favorite movies help her through the tough times.

“I have learned that it is okay to feel weak. It is okay to cry. It is okay to feel defeated. And, it is okay to ask, “why me?” But then you have to find the strength, you have to wipe away the tears, you have to choose to fight to win the battle, and you have to ask, “why not me?”

Now six, Andrew is four years into remission and finishing Kindergarten. His magnetic personality and smile draw people to him. He loves watching trains and playing with trucks, riding horses, and participates in the Special Olympics t-ball program called Miracle League. His younger sister Lydia is his best friend.

Today, Kelly has the running bug and finds herself competing in the Boston Marathon, the Nashville Marathon, and was the winner of the 2020 Disney Princess Half Marathon.

“I run with the name #AndrewStrong. Every race I run, I picture his face, remember his struggles and think of the future he has because of the amazing work of so many medical professionals, and above all, the grace and love of God!”

This Global Running Day, we celebrate women and runners like Kelly, who race to support pediatric patients at children’s hospitals. Comment if you’ll run #ForTheKids today or tag a runner you know that supports children’s hospitals!